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Master Kill Switch/Lock?

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Forum topic by MJClark posted 12-07-2018 03:23 PM 385 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MJClark

34 posts in 86 days


12-07-2018 03:23 PM

My wife and I discussed it and I am going to be making some significant upgrades to our garage for my shop, starting with a 220 Volt Unisaw in May. Our house was built a few years ago and the breaker panel is in the garage and they only installed to 20 amp 110 volt outlets on one wall of the garage. Since I need to run at a minimum one 220 volt circuit for the Table Saw, I am thinking that I might want to run additional circuits as well to eliminate any extension cords and power strips.

But there was something that I remember on an old episode of New Yankee Workshop where Norm built a garage workshop for someone with a master key shutoff for the outlets.

Being that the corner of my shop will still have the kids bikes, stuff for the beach, and a few other things, I am thinking that it might not be a bad idea, but I was wondering if anyone has done something like this. Furthermore, do you think I should just tap into the existing panel or install a separate sub panel for this?


17 replies so far

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

7127 posts in 1340 days


#1 posted 12-07-2018 04:08 PM

Based on what you want to do, I think I’d run a subpanel then run all of the shop outlets off of it. Then you can just throw the breakers as opposed to having to run switched circuits for the breakers. If you feel that it’s necessary to lock out access to the breakers, get a box that will let you put a small padlock on it.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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YesHaveSome

128 posts in 460 days


#2 posted 12-07-2018 05:00 PM

Yep, sub panel.

-- But where does the meat go?

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GR8HUNTER

5130 posts in 914 days


#3 posted 12-07-2018 06:42 PM

DITTO +3 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

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HokieKen

7127 posts in 1340 days


#4 posted 12-07-2018 07:16 PM

I should add… check your local codes. I don’t think there’s any issue with locking the enclosure on a subpanel but I’m not an electrician either :-)

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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RobHannon

190 posts in 732 days


#5 posted 12-07-2018 07:24 PM

Locking a subpanel closed, at least in my area, is a no-no unless there is a disconnect within 3’ i think. Locking something off is fine, but you could also lock them on and I think that is where the safety concern comes in. I’m actually not sure if I have seen a panel that locks closed that does not have an exposed main breaker.

Better option in my opinion would be to put a disconnect that can be locked off prior to the sub panel. Look so a single throw safety switch rated to match the sub panel. Probably $150 range.

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HokieKen

7127 posts in 1340 days


#6 posted 12-07-2018 07:31 PM

Makes sense Rob^. OP says his main service panel is in the garage too so if he keeps it within 3’ of that, I imagine the main disconnect there would fit the bill. Of course I guess it’s a moot point if you can’t buy a subpanel with a lock :-)

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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WoodenDreams

290 posts in 113 days


#7 posted 12-07-2018 07:58 PM

A friend of mine had 120 to his 3 car garage. We dug a trench from house to the garage, and ran new underground wiring from the house panel to the garage. We installed a sub-panel and ran a couple lines for 240 outlets, and some lines for 120 every 4’ for outlets. we also ran wiring for new overhead lights. We also installed a 12’ long workbench on the back wall. The electricity to the garage can be shut off at that main panel in the house or from the sub-panel in the garage.

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HokieKen

7127 posts in 1340 days


#8 posted 12-07-2018 08:09 PM

I’m in the process of doing the same with my son for his detached garage WoodenDreams. We have the panel ran and two 20A circuits for 115 outlets. We put outlets every 5-6’ at a height of 4’ off the floor so they won’t get blocked. We also alternated which circuit the outlets were on. That way he doesn’t have all the outlets on the wall next to his workbench on one circuit and all the outlets on the wall that’s mostly storage on another. Tomorrow we’ll be running a circuit for lights and hanging those and that’ll be all the help he gets from me this year ;-)

To clarify though, are you saying from the main service panel you ran a 230V breaker out to the garage and connected that to the main disconnect on another panel?


A friend of mine had 120 to his 3 car garage. We dug a trench from house to the garage, and ran new underground wiring from the house panel to the garage. We installed a sub-panel and ran a couple lines for 240 outlets, and some lines for 120 every 4 for outlets. we also ran wiring for new overhead lights. We also installed a 12 long workbench on the back wall. The electricity to the garage can be shut off at that main panel in the house or from the sub-panel in the garage.

- WoodenDreams

My understanding is that if it’s a subpanel, it can’t have a main disconnect because then you essentially have 2 breakers on the same circuit. I don’t know why that’s not allowed but I don’t think it is.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

7330 posts in 3570 days


#9 posted 12-07-2018 08:22 PM

I added 220 volts to my garage with a remote shut off panel located high enough so that kids can’t reach it.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Steve's profile

Steve

753 posts in 784 days


#10 posted 12-07-2018 08:42 PM

I want 220 in my garage. Hell, I’d settle for a 3rd circuit. lol

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

7127 posts in 1340 days


#11 posted 12-07-2018 08:54 PM

Running 220 is simple Steve if you just need a single circuit and have the capacity in your service panel.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View YesHaveSome's profile

YesHaveSome

128 posts in 460 days


#12 posted 12-07-2018 09:55 PM

I installed a 100 amp panel in my garage. Ran 4 110 circuits. Two on each of the main walls. There are two duplex outlets in each box every four feet or so and each are on different circuits. When my DC was mobile that was pretty handy since I could plug the tool and the DC into the same box and not worry about having to run cords or blowing breakers.


I m in the process of doing the same with my son for his detached garage WoodenDreams. We have the panel ran and two 20A circuits for 115 outlets. We put outlets every 5-6 at a height of 4 off the floor so they won t get blocked. We also alternated which circuit the outlets were on. That way he doesn t have all the outlets on the wall next to his workbench on one circuit and all the outlets on the wall that s mostly storage on another. Tomorrow we ll be running a circuit for lights and hanging those and that ll be all the help he gets from me this year ;-)

To clarify though, are you saying from the main service panel you ran a 230V breaker out to the garage and connected that to the main disconnect on another panel?

A friend of mine had 120 to his 3 car garage. We dug a trench from house to the garage, and ran new underground wiring from the house panel to the garage. We installed a sub-panel and ran a couple lines for 240 outlets, and some lines for 120 every 4 for outlets. we also ran wiring for new overhead lights. We also installed a 12 long workbench on the back wall. The electricity to the garage can be shut off at that main panel in the house or from the sub-panel in the garage.

- WoodenDreams

My understanding is that if it s a subpanel, it can t have a main disconnect because then you essentially have 2 breakers on the same circuit. I don t know why that s not allowed but I don t think it is.

- HokieKen


-- But where does the meat go?

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HokieKen

7127 posts in 1340 days


#13 posted 12-07-2018 10:36 PM

Dang, I didn’t think to run both circuits to each box. My DC is portable which is exactly why I had the thought to alternate circuits from one outlet to the next.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

602 posts in 1696 days


#14 posted 12-08-2018 11:22 AM

+1 National fire code forbids locked breaker panels, unless a rated disconnect switch for the panel is available, labeled, and within 3 ft.

So if you want to lock an entire shop breaker panel, just install master switch next to it. Can be lockable disconnect like above example, or even AC disconnect where you pull a plug and rotate a plug to turn off power.
Note – There are height installation requirements for disconnect; so local code may not allow you place this too high for kids to reach, and you end up needing a pad lock to lock it off.

A slight shift on locking out breakers is to use commercial breaker ‘lock out/tag out’ devices designed for your breaker panel to only lock individual breakers. BORG sells these devices, search for ‘lockout kits’. Basically a clip that prevents breaker from being turned on, with removing the clip/wire/lock.

Another idea is to simply use the existing locking mechanisms included in most power tools made since 50’s. There is safety code that all ‘stationary’ tools are required to have local lock out mechanism for power switch.
If you look closely on generic 2 button switches there is a hole through the ‘ON’ switch for a pad lock. Every cabinet saw I have ever seen has this provision. These use the standard long reach lock out pad locks.
Many folks like Craftsman, Ridgid, etc; use switch with yellow removable key (like this one ) to disable power.
Separate devices on each tool are more annoying and time consuming. But it enables lock out only on tools needed, while you teach your kids wood working. :-)

In my shop, everything is mobile and has power cord, even 240V devices. To keep my kids (and wife – yes, she has ‘bumped’ power switch before) safe, I unplug the cords at end of day, or for long breaks. I can’t stop them from plugging something in and getting into trouble, but I’ve trained them to leave them alone.

Lots of ways to keep kids safe from power tools. Personally think one of the best ways is to teach them safe woodworking at young age. :) I let my kids help me sand/stain/finish projects around 5-6 years old. By age 9 both my sons were big enough to be using the band saw (with supervision) to cut derby cars from pine blocks. :)

Hope this helps. Cheers!

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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Fresch

360 posts in 2123 days


#15 posted 12-08-2018 04:51 PM

Circuit breaker lock

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

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